Blurring the Boundary Between Work and Personal Lives

Jim Shook, Director, E-Discovery and Compliance Team, EMC Corp

Jim Shook, Director, E-Discovery and Compliance Team, EMC Corp

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Sometimes it’s difficult to believe that everyday phrases have lost their meaning, or that the younger generation is baffled when they hear them.  I’m referring to ancient gems like “Yeah, I VCR-ed that show last night” and even mundane office technology references like “sneakernet”, “box of floppy disks” and “can you xerox that?”.

In the workplace, it may not be long until we see the end of “9-to-5” and “I’m going to the office to get a few things done”.  We are blurring the line between our personal and professional lives – or maybe they have just merged into one?

In response to the demands of our job, and enabled by ever more sophisticated technology, many of us handle more social activities during “normal business hours” – checking Facebook and Twitter, sending text messages, talking on our cell phones and sending personal email messages.  Similarly, we may be handling more work issues after-hours, while on the road or even at home – checking Facebook and Twitter, sending text messages, talking on our cell phones and sending work email messages.  Do you see the problem?

How complex have these issues become?  Recently, the National Labor Relations Board reinstated five employees terminated for criticizing their work place on Facebook, noting that workplace social media policies cannot regulate all employee activity.  More personal computers and devices (iPads, cell phones, home computers) are implicated now in eDiscovery requests because they contain work-specific content.

And it’s the just the beginning.  Most companies have a difficult time properly maintaining records and other compliance-focused information when all of the information is located on company equipment and under company control.  What will we do when more and more of this information – technically created for and owned by the company – is not only stored at third-party locations, but may have never touched a company-owned device or even traversed the company network?

Join us this Thursday, September 22, at 11 am Eastern for a webcast discussing these issues, especially their impact on compliance and eDiscovery requirements.  You can register (it’s free) at  Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits are available for most states.

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